The battle’s done and we kind of won, so we sing our victory cheer. Where do we go from here?
- from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Once More with Feeling
Her fans called her a happy accident and yet, most who rallied around femshep clamored for more recognition. They … we wrote, posted, tweeted, generally made noise and braved insults until BioWare finally listened. Femshep appeared on the cover of both the standard and CE of Mass Effect 3, she got her own video, her own animations, and so much more. Jennifer Hale appeared in numerous interviews before and after the release of the game, and about half of the reviews I read on ME3 refer to Shepard as her. Femshep even got her own high res default model. In other words, we won.
So, where do we go from here?
The femshep thread was born with a singular purpose; to gain recognition for one of the best protagonists in gaming. It was a movement of solidarity that erupted into a fandom. And like any fandom it sprouted passion in the form of art, fiction, essays, videos, pics, etc, etc, etc. And also, like any other fandom, friendships grew out of the passion. But the driving force behind the fandom was always “femshep doesn’t get enough recognition.” It was a cause we were all rallying behind. Even if the intent of a bit of fiction or art was merely to celebrate femshep, it ultimately echoed the sentiment. Why was there so much femshep art and such to begin with? Because there was a hole. She wasn’t represented. Now she is and I have to ask again, where do we go from here?
And now Mass Effect 3 has come and gone. Commander Shepard’s story has been told. It’s over. Yes there will be DLC, but nothing past “clarifying” the ending. For some players femshep was just a fling like any other video game character and they will move on gladly. For others she has been in our lives for five years and it will be damned hard to get her out, assuming we want her out at all. But the fact remains, her story is over.
So, where do we go from here? Each player has to answer that question on their own. As long as there is an interest the website will remain. I suspect the same goes from the thread and deviant art site. But honestly, I don’t know where we go from here. Femshep is many things to many people. She is not simply one person or character; she is many characters to many people. Each person will take their idea of femshep and go wherever they want to go. Whether they … we all go together or separately only time will tell.